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Cerebral prejudice favours the beautiful

The Local · 23 Mar 2011, 12:48

Published: 23 Mar 2011 12:48 GMT+01:00

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Previous studies have shown that dreamy Steves and dishy Dianes are treated better than the average Joe, even without having to show that they're in any way charismatic, intelligent or competent. The researchers at Lund University wanted to examine the extent to which our memories play a part in reinforcing this so-called physical attractiveness stereotype.

Jean-Christophe Rohner, one of the authors of the study, explained what they were looking for.

"We wanted to know if information consistent with a stereotype is remembered better, but also if people have a bias to think they have seen stereotype-congruent information more," he told The Local.

The researchers asked 105 people to look at pictures depicting a series of gorgeous specimens alongside people of a lesser pulchritude. Each picture was accompanied with a label describing either a positive or a negative characteristic.

"We found effects where people believe that they have seen an attractive person together with a positive trait," said Rohner.

"Stereotype-consistent information is processed more fluently. That might explain why people believe that they remember that kind of information."

Rohner said he hoped the findings would encourage people to treat each other more equitably in everyday situations.

Story continues below…

"The important thing here is that, if we are aware that these stereotypes exist and affect our cognitive processes, we have a possibility to counteract them," he said.

"So you can make an effort to be nice to people even if they are unattractive."

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:40 March 23, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
Wow! Mind-blowing research here - so glad I read this article: I'll certainly look out for my 'cerebral prejudice' in future. LOL
15:04 March 23, 2011 by Rishonim
I wonder why they use a pic of Madelaine as she is so far away from being a hottie Well, maybe not if you are a pigeon farmer from Devonshire or a mill worker from Manitoba
15:13 March 23, 2011 by Tanskalainen
@Rishonim Or a dirty old lustful Dane like me! I know she's not your type Rish but I want her so bad it hurts!
15:47 March 23, 2011 by rybo1
Duh! I think we all knew this in elementary school and it's called human nature, not "cerebral prejudice".
15:54 March 23, 2011 by Rishonim
@Tanskalainen. LOL.. And I think you have a fair shot and hitching up with her considering her latest luck at finding luv ;-)
18:36 March 23, 2011 by zircon
I am nerdy looking. What are my chances? (Keeping on the spectacles.)
19:30 March 23, 2011 by Rishonim
zircon, nerdy looking with spectacles doesn't bring much leverage. Now if you add to it some zits, dandruff and soursap breath then your changes will look promising.
23:12 March 23, 2011 by wxman
As a Swedish-American (3rd generation), I think the princess is hot as well. As others have mentioned, this is nature, not nuture. As humans we find attractive people, well, attractive! This story has all the impact of one telling us the sun rises in the east and that the Pope may be Catholic.
10:24 March 24, 2011 by McChatter
Is this why there are all these jokes about dumb blonds?
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